Anyway, all archaics aside, the Sunday evening ceremony that every year marks the end of the fest is justifiably a well-attended thing, with journalists and cinephiles around the world hooked on who will come out victorious, and which shoo-in was painfully snubbed this time around.
With my outward bound flight now almost a memory, and my feet planted firmly back on pretty infeasibly hot British soil for a few days, my experience of the awards ceremonies has been somewhat less glamorous than the rest of the festival. But who says drinking Nutella and hot water isnt just as classy as champagne fuelled hobnobbing on the Cote d’Azur? Well, me frankly, but needs must.
So, to the winners.
I had rather pointedly made my decision on the Palme d’Or as early as the second I walked out of Mike Leigh’s Another Year. The festival favourite auteur, I presumed, was a definite, considering his long association with the competition, and the fact that he had achieved something so on-brand, and so very Cannes at its heart. But, it seems something different was afoot among the Jury this year- just look at the outcome:
- UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul
- OF GODS AND MEN directed by Xavier Beauvois
Award for Best Director
- MATHIEU AMALRIC for Tournee
Award for Best Screenplay
- Lee Chang-dong for POETRY
Award for Best Actress
- JULIETTE BINOCHE in Certified Copy
Award for Best Actor (Split)
- JAVIER BARDEM in Biutiful
- ELIO GERMANO in Our Life
- A SCREAMING MAN directed by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Palme d’Or – Short Film
- BARKING ISLAND directed by Serge Avedikian
Jury Prize – Short Film
- BATHING MICKY directed by Frida Kempff
While Uncle Boonmee might not be a well heralded choice, it was crucially the most Tim Burtonesque of all films in Competition, and let’s face it, in a festival that so vividly recalled Burton’s own artistic portfolio it was always going to be that way.
Bardem was a definite shoo-in, thanks to Inarritu’s unconscious creation of a vehicle without any other charm that served as the empty vessel to frame the actor’s performance. Germano is a less obvious choice, and I have to say I’m a little annoyed that the Jury didnt look to Jim Broadbent, in his finest performance for years in Mike Leigh’s Another Year. That is where I would have placed my own vote.
Call my cynical, but I think both French choices- Amalric as Best Director and Binoche as Best Actress were more populist than deserved, especially in the case of Amalric whose direction of Tournee was actually an obvious lowpoint for the otherwise enjoyable production. How can someone win a prize by being almost entirely absent?
Outside of the main competition, there was also the small but welcome distraction of the Un Certain Regard competition, which a great deal of critics sadly ignored in favour of the more blue-chip competition pieces. The winners read as follows:
Un Certain Regard Grand Prize
- HAHAHA directed by Hong Sangsoo
- October directed by Diego & Daniel Vega
- EVA BIANCO, VICTORIA RAPOSA & ADELA SANCHEZ in The Lips
- Not awarded
Appalling, in my opinion. Not only should the excellent Blue Valentine have walked away with the grand prize, but there should definitely have been case enough to award the best Actor gong to Ryan Gosling, whose work on the film is just mesmorising, and will no doubt merit further award, especially when no award was given out at all.